5 Things that Make Life Difficult for Ex-pats


From not knowing the local language to not sharing a culture, ex-pats have it hard. Here are problems that will make your life difficult as an expatriate, and what you can do to solve them.

Moving abroad is different from what it once was. When a friend or relative emigrates to a distant country, we know we will see them again. As little as 20 years ago this wasn’t the case. They would get on the plane or in the boat and we would receive a phone call at Christmas. That was just the way things were.

Nowadays, the world of ex-pat life has changed dramatically. When you move abroad, you have multiple communication streams that help you stay connected with loved ones – and even physically see them. Flights are inexpensive by comparison and much faster.

Now that modern travel has eliminated the immediate problem of homesickness and we now have the tech to visit, what other problems face the everyday migrant?

Top Problems Ex-pats Face – and What To Do About Them

Here are the top problems all expatriates face and what you can do about them, preferably before they arise.

1 – Understanding a new healthcare system

If you want to give yourself a migraine worthy of a hospital visit, try to understand the terms of using your new country’s healthcare system before you are an official resident.

There are so many ifs and buts involved in any new healthcare system that it puts ex-pats off making the transition. However, there’s no way you should move abroad without being prepared, should the worst happen.

Newly emigrated expatriates can get around the problem of healthcare system navigation with a simple sidestep. Browse for the best international healthcare packages and select one that suits you. Put it in place before you leave your origin country, and you should find your healthcare woes are a thing of the past.

healthcare system

2 – Trouble fitting in

Whether you are moving to Australia or Dubai, fitting into your new community is going to be a tough one. You are leaving behind all your friends, and acquaintances you had, and all the institutions that support you.

That means your doctor, dentist, hairdresser, and the person who looks after your pet when you go on holiday. Those are a lot of things to lose in one go. Adjustment trouble is an expected outcome.

Look ahead. Before you go, start researching where the ex-pat groups in your area might be. Start chatting with other residents of your new town in forums or follow their Facebook groups. Get to know them before you leave to be off to a running start.

moving to Australia or Dubai

3 – The language barrier

Language is no small matter. Moving to a country where you don’t speak their language as a native is twice as difficult as moving to one where you do.

Non-native speakers struggle with nuance, idiom, and phrases so colloquial they don’t mean anything to outsiders. Try explaining what “If you fly with the crows, you get shot with the crows.” means to someone who doesn’t speak English.

You can do all that you can before you leave to learn a language, but it will take physically living in your new country for that language to sink fully in. Once you have been there for a few months and you have relentlessly used the new tongue, you will start to dream in this new language. The key to solving this problem is just to allow time to pass. And lessons, of course. Lots of lessons.

language barrier

4 – Financial Stress

When you move to a new country, you may find there are stipulations placed upon your visa as to how much money you can take with you. Often, if you have less than a certain amount of money, they may not grant you permission to stay.

This is to protect both them and you. If you move to their country without enough finance behind you only to become destitute, they won’t support you. You might not have enough to get home and end up trapped.

Financial stress is part of moving abroad. You should work out an exchange rate that is far lower than the current one so that if things drop, you are not worse off. You should also move abroad with a job already in place, or with interviews lined up.

 Financial Stress

5 – Adapting to a new culture

Culture Shock” is a real thing. When you move abroad you abruptly fit full-time into a new way of life. It will take you weeks, months, or even years, to recover. Culture shock triggers negative emotions when you do simple tasks that would, in your opinion, be easier to do your way.

For example, buying something in a shop might be different. You could need time to adjust to how locals talk, eat, or use their hands. All this feeling out of place can cause you to regret your move.

Visiting the country you are moving to a few times before you go can help with this. Alternatively, spend time with friends from your new country, do your research online, and watch videos of the new location. All this will help you to blend in just as soon as you can.

 new culture


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